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Friday 20 October 2017

Big guns take aim at 0-400-0 record

The 0-400kph-0 record is a relatively recent performance benchmark for hypercars which has created a fascinating David vs Goliath contest between Koenigsegg and Bugatti.

The two companies have been duelling for over a decade to claim the right to call their vehicle the world’s fastest car, although given the circumstances it has been more of a case of feather dusters than pistols at dawn – Koenigsegg steadfastly refuse to take the fight seriously.

In 2005, a Koenigsegg CCR achieved 240.7 miles per hour (387 kpm) at Nardo, the fastest speed achieved by a production car since the McLaren F1 clocked 230 mph in 1993. Later that year, and presumably to the chagrin of Koenigsegg, a Bugatti Veyron recorded an official speed of 253.8 mph and so began the unofficial contest between Swedish upstarts Koenigsegg and VW-owned Bugatti.

You really couldn’t make the story up – while “mad scientist” Christian Von Koenigsegg  and his small team beavered quietly away at his abandoned airbase HQ in a quiet seaside town in Sweden, Bugatti had the full might and resource of the Volkswagen Group at their disposal, which included the 20km high-speed oval at the company’s Ehra-Lessien test facility.  It looked like a rematch was on the cards in 2007 as Bugatti offered Koenigsegg the use of  Ehra-Lessien, but newcomers SSC spoiled the party when their Ultimate Aero TT recorded a Guiness-verified 256 mph in Washington State, USA. Back to the drawing board for the Swedes.

In 2010 Bugatti retook the official title with an average 267.8 mph over two timed runs in a Veyron Supersport. Since then a Hennessy Venom GT has claimed an unofficial 270.49 mph, but since then the race to build the world’s fastest car lost some of its momentum as the challengers appeared to lose interest and some argued that chasing the achievement was both pointless and irresponsible.

Regera vs Chiron

In 2015, Koenigsegg revealed its new hybrid hypercar – the Regera – at the Geneva Motor Show. With a reported 1800 hp and some incredible technology at its disposal, the team at Koenigsegg had clearly been busy. Koenigsegg sales were strong and Christian and his team were obviously in the ascendant.

The very next year, Bugatti revealed their 1500 bhp Chiron – the successor to the Veyron – in Geneva. Electronically limited to 420 kph (261 mph) for safety reasons, it looked like Bugatti was no longer focused on the pursuit of top speed even though the car is believed to be theoretically capable of 288 mph.

Fast forward to the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show, where Bugatti announced they had broken the 0-400-0 record, albeit unofficially, by completing it in 42.96 seconds. That’s 248.5 miles per hour from a standing start and back again, with 400 kph being reached in a mind-bending 32.6 seconds. Bravo Bugatti.

Koenigsegg responds

Less than four weeks later and without any fanfare, Koenigsegg posted footage of a customer’s Agera RS completing the 0-400-0 run in 36.44 seconds. Using disused a Danish Word War II airfield, the Regera RS dispatched 400 kph in a mere 26.88 seconds – that’s quite a margin at these speeds. Don’t expect Koenigsegg to make an official attempt at the record in the Regera- it’s not their style – but we would imagine that the team at Bugatti have only two words in their minds.

Game On.






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